Don't tell Ian McShane you don't understand Kings - TCA Report
So, you can imagine what happens when you combine McShane's orneriness with a group of cranky critics who've been put through a long day by the folks at NBC on the last day of the press tour (there will be a day of set visits on Tueday, but no ballroom press conferences). The last panel is for McShane's new mid-season show, Kings, and the critics have been made extra cranky by the fact that, like all of NBC's new shows, they haven't seen the pilot for it yet. Mix in a somewhat hard-to-grasp premise. Stir liberally, and you get some momentary fireworks that woke up the collected critics at the very end of a long day.
Kings is a modern-day retelling of the tale of David and Goliath. Christopher Egan plays David, a young soldier in an unidentified country on an unidentified planet. During battle, he manages to defeat an almost impenetrable tank called "Golliath," making him a hero back home. This catapults him into the world of his country's king (McShane), who takes to David, but is wary of him at the same time.
When McShane and series creators Michael Green, Francis Lawrence, and Erwin Stoff tried to explain the parameters of this alternate world to a reporter who wanted clarification, they seemed to explain it well. It's a world which is familiar, but is devoid of the brands, pop culture references, and other familiar trappings of the world we know. McShane put it very succinctly: "I mean, there's no apocalyptic voice coming on, saying, 'It's the year 2025. The world is in disarray. These people are' -- we don't wear an overall or some kind of strange one-piece."
But when the reporter shot back with "OK. Now you're not making any sense at all," that's when McShane got annoyed.
"We're not making any sense? Is that what drama's about? Isn't drama -- excuse me -- for your ignorant remark. Isn't drama -- based on the fact -- we're not making any sense? What the hell kind of question? You ask a question. You want an answer or not? The world -- drama is built on biblical -- biblical -- the greatest novel written by 50 people ever. If you can't get a good story from that, you can't. What do you expect, it all spelled out for you now, that you should know what kind of pop culture or we're going to refer to Britney Spears' new child?"
Lawrence stepped in and calmed things down by explaining that "the difference is that you don't have Starbucks. You have a coffee shop. It's not a Starbucks. You don't have a BlackBerry, but there's phones and cell phone. There's no Britney Spears, but people sing songs."
McShane was cantankerous in a different way, when the inevitable question about Deadwood, its demise, and why there aren't any new movies came up. Surprisingly, it took almost fifteen minutes before someone actually asked that question. I'll just print it for you from the transcript:
"We always knew from the first day they started hedging that sort of strange remarks about saying, 'Oh, Mr. Milch is working on another show for HBO.' Well, he's always working on another show. He had a three-pack deal. David didn't come over just to do Deadwood, but when I think, maybe the conversation went something like, 'Well, how about this year, you know, because it was the most expensive show on television, David?' No, you all know David Milch. You know that (they said) "maybe we'd do eight episodes this year of Deadwood,' and probably came the reply, 'How about we do fucking none?'"
That got the crowd laughing, and McShane continued. "And I think it degenerated from there into the mutual sort of patting each other on the back saying, 'We'll do a new show for HBO.' And then all the talk about doing two movies, which was, I think, you know, a smoke screen, and then eventually the rather pathetic announcements that we could never get it together with everybody to do another show." McShane, though, went on to "bless" the network for putting Deadwood on in the first place.
I kind of wish all of the panels were like this. This wasn't the only NBC panel (there were ten of them today... thanks for the brutal last day, NBC!) where there was a bit of an undertone to the panelist's responses. One snarky panelist though was funny, while the other one was just annoying. I'll let you know which in a little while.